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[Character Guide] Menelker, Deathstrike Dragon

This guide was written by tipzntrix

Character Overview

Menelker is a fragile character with extremely powerful black face cards and aces that can turn the tide when landed successfully. His black face cards activate his character’s innate ability, Bleeding Wounds, which allows him to draw a card when the black face cards hit and also force the opponent to discard a card. He is tied for the fewest hit points of any character in the game, but has the highest damaging throw as well. He is a versatile character, able to threaten high damage off of attacks, throws, and dodges, but also needs to build a hand to get there. He can power up for black face cards, allowing him to pick the proper tool for the situation. He can banish opponents’ cards, removing their best cards forever (including jokers) as well as remove cards from opponents’ hands to mitigate the damage being dealt to him. His queen, king, and powerup versatility ensure that any card you happen to draw can be converted into damage.

Innate: Bleeding Wounds

Whenever you hit the opponent with a black face card attack (even multiple times in a combo), draw a card and they discard a card.
You may power up for black face cards during the powerup phase.


There is also a glossary at the end of this post explaining all of the commonly used acronyms and terms.

While gameplay varies based on your opponent, it also varies a lot based on your starting hand. Menelker has two basic gameplans: rushdown with black face cards and throws in order to keep your opponent’s hand size low while dealing damage or play defensively and safely, building a large hand in order to threaten a strong late game where you have removed your opponent’s best options (including jokers) and where your options can do gigantic damage in a single combat. I compare each plan to Menelker’s human and dragon sides. His human side does anything to win, using his Bleeding Wounds innate profusely to remove cards from his opponent while drawing cards for himself to continue the onslaught, while his dragon side relies on brute strength and overwhelming force, but takes massive amounts of energy (in other words, cards) to function properly. I say “or” because it is extremely ineffective to be trying to perform both of these tactics at the same time, though you can go from one to the other mid-game.

The Human Side

Menelker has many cards that remove cards from his opponents’ hand and can power up for more. By hitting the opponent with these cards time after time, they will be forced to play with a small, non-threatening hand, so Menelker will have the advantage. The plan here is to keep up the offense. Attacks will lead into black face card hits, 7* throws can allow you to remove your opponents’ best cards from their hands and lead into black face card hits, and dodges can be followed up with 7* throws or black face cards for a safe way to remove your opponents’ cards. Hands with many throws, especially 7s with their Bonecracker ability, and hands with many black face cards lend themselves very well to this kind of playstyle. Powering up for black face cards is not efficient when it comes to keeping the opponent’s hand size small because your hand size will dwindle faster than theirs, so you cannot force a hand with no throws and black face cards to do this. However, if you have many more cards than your opponent, you can afford to trade some cards for some ammo that will keep your opponent’s hand small. After all, Menelker’s innate Bleeding Wounds allows him to draw a card every time he hits with a black face card, so as long as he is successful in winning combat, he will be able to replace the cards he uses while still dealing some damage.

How to:

Attack, throw, and dodge. Blocking will allow your opponent to get cards back. Look for a way to hit your opponent with a black face card or a 7* throw.

Try to attack with red kings or normal attacks and then combo into black face cards. That way, if you lose combat, you will still have the black face cards in your hand. Don’t be afraid to play black face cards in combat if you have no way to combo into them or if you suspect you will need their speed to beat opponents’ attacks though.

Don’t pump queens or kings with other cards unless your opponent is nearly dead. You never know when you will draw a pair or a three of a kind of that can make even the least useful card useful for powering up to get another black face card to keep the opponent’s hand small.

When you are out of black face cards and 7* throws, look to power up for other black face cards to maintain card efficiency while having a scary combat option.

Use Into Oblivion (T*, sometimes notated 10*) on cards that you know will be removed from the opponent’s hand because you saw them through Bonecracker (7*). You can also use it on jokers, but in general you might want to save this card because this strategy keeps your hand size small and you need all the cards you can get.

Take knockdown off of throws if you have a normal attack straight in hand or you do not have black face cards to follow up with. On the next turn, you can try for a mixup normal, black Queen, another throw, or a dodge, but this gives you a better opportunity to land a straight and makes it harder for the opponent to block and build their hand size. Powering up for free black face cards through straight combos is great for keeping hand advantage.

When to:

When you have many more cards than your opponent in hand, for example, after they combo you
When your hand has many throws and black face cards
When you have faster attack and/or throw speeds than your opponent

When to stop:
When you have fewer cards than your opponent in hand
When you run out of 7s, black face cards, and reasonable ways to power up for them
When your opponent is one big combo from death and doesn’t have jokers in hand
When you have drawn 2+ aces

What to watch out for:

Losing combat to normal attacks or blocks. If you lose too many combats to these, the hand advantage you have will diminish. There’s no foolproof way to play around this, but you can notice when you’ve lost your card advantage and stop.

Your own hand size dwindling. If you pump too many queens and kings, your hand will get smaller and smaller because you are spending lots of cards. If this happens, you won’t be able to power up when you need more black face cards.

Opponent blue bursts (AKA combo escapes). When you are rushing down, you often don’t have enough cards to be removing the opponents’ jokers, so you are going to have to deal with facedown cards more and more. Passing often is a good idea when you’re trying to keep the opponent’s hand size small, as even if it is a bluff, they have lost another card.

Powering up for aces. Those aces might look like some huge damage, but powering up for them when you could be getting a black face card removes your ability to hold your opponent’s hand size down.

The Dragon Side

Menelker’s aces do extremely high amounts of damage. The attack side does 11 damage per ace and can do 22 damage for 2 aces in the space of two combo points. This means combos like K++6A+ will do 44, J++A+ will do 49, and Throw into A+ will do 28. Throwing your opponent with 7* to look for jokers before following up with A+ guaranteed is great, but the best part hasn’t even been mentioned. Menelker’s AAAA throw, Deathstrike Dragon, deals 55 damage (13.75 damage per ace), is speed 4.6 (to beat most non-grappler throws), and can be used after dodge, though it will be vulnerable to jokers that way. If you can’t control your opponent’s hand, you can crush them with the overwhelming strength of the Deathstrike Dragon. Of course, this strength comes at a price. Very few hands start with more than one ace, and most start with zero aces. You are going to have to work your way up.

How to:

Play safely. Try to minimize damage as much as possible. Don’t take huge risks like slow throws and attacks unless you have no better options.

A counterpoint to the first point of playing safely: Players who throw a ton will eventually run you out of queens. You may have to use slow normal attacks to punish throws while still gaining cards. Only do it if you are forced to, but don’t shy away from it if you have to play it. Otherwise, you will lose all your blocks to throws.

Make your hand grow. Blocking is the best way to do this, but black queens are a good way to stop throws and other attacks while keeping your hand size going up. If you are very far away from four aces, you might even power up for a black queen to scare your opponent away from doing damage to you through attacks and throws while your hand grows. It’s important not to get impatient with this black queen. The less you have to play it, the more time you can spend making your hand grow.

Sneak in surprise 7* throws in order to see the opponent’s hand and plot your safest course, remove their jokers in preparation for your large combos later, and lower their possible damage in general.

Use Into Oblivion on jokers and aces in preparation for advantageous combat in the late game, unjokerable combos, and so your opponent cannot power up. You can also use it on cards you know that will be discarded from your opponents’ hand if they are important.

Power up for aces and kings. Aces are how your combos will do amazing damage. Kings allow you to do a lot of damage on an attack. You usually want to power up directly for four aces, but on grapplers and other characters with moves that can beat both dodge and Deathstrike Dragon as a combat option, you can opt to try for a K++6A+ combo instead, which still does 44 damage. Menelker’s normal throws are by comparison not very strong, which is why getting Deathstrike Dragon is generally preferred to a king, because it is a huge throw threat. Of course, after getting four aces, you can get a king as well.

In times of desperation, use a Gold Burst. Getting two aces will give you the fuel to need to do tons of damage to come back.

If the opponent does not facedown, don’t be afraid to pump kings with spare cards even if your hand is not large yet.

When to:

Both players have a lot of cards in hand
You have 2+ aces in hand
You have 2+ tens in hand
Your opponent is playing faster attacks and/or throws than you can match
Your opponent’s jokers are banished

When to stop:

When the opponent has 16 or less HP, try for a black queen powerup instead.
Your opponent is playing very risky options like slow throws and attacks
Your opponent just played a huge combo and has a small hand, and you have black face cards

What to watch out for:

Playing safe does not mean blocking 100% of the time. A lot of characters can do tons of damage throwing you. You want to use your black queens to scare the opponent’s offense away and your 7* throws to remove jokers so that you can freely play for big damage in a single combat.

Characters that are extremely good at punishing blocks and that force you to spend cards to attack or dodge like Gwen, Geiger, and many more.

Very strong rushdown characters will often kill you before you can get the chance to build up enough power. In that case…I have developed a makeshift plan. Read on for more.

PANIC!!! side

Sometimes, Menelker can’t handle everything on his own. He tried to fight a huge Dreadlands boar, and as a result, half of his body was turned pallid grey, the color of death. Even Menelker learned that sometimes, he had to be saved. On the brink of death, sometimes you just have to do whatever you can to survive.

Your opponent is too fast and generates too much damage too quickly. Their offence is extremely damaging and you probably won’t last 5 more turns trying to hold out. You can’t rush them back down; their throw and attack speed prevents you from landing any combos. You have a silver bullet, however.

The black queen.

Some opposing characters have very little hit points, but an extraordinarily great rushdown game that you cannot turtle effectively against and cannot outmatch in speed. What are you going to do? Use your 0.0 speed attack and sting them every time they come at you until they learn their lesson. Note that these characters can all block and dodge themselves, so it’s not foolproof, but certain players will not stop coming at you. Note that this does not work exceptionally well on characters with a lot of hit points. The black queen is not equipped with enough damage to last that long.

How to:

Power up for black queen and use it in combat. Then do it again. and again.
Mix in some blocks to bide time for more cards to power up.
Start pumping your black queens when the opponent is under 32 HP or you have over 10 cards somehow.

When to:
The opponent keeps attacking and throwing you as you try to build a hand.

When to stop:
The opponent starts blocking or dodging. Basically, they finally give you room to grow a hand.

What to watch out for:


General Tips and Tricks (Tipzntrix)

I feel like I committed a grave disservice by not including these tidbits of wisdom that are my namesake. Without further ado, here are assorted tips and tricks that may help your Menelker game.

Important Life Totals (font size tells you how important):

55: This is when DSD is lethal. However, your opponent will know it, and you will know it.
49: This is when J++A+ is lethal. Opponents usually aren’t looking out for this because it is so slow, but if the cards align in your hand, especially against grapplers, you can shoot Nether Orb J out and try for this combo.
44: This is when K++6A+ is lethal. The 6 is actually the hardest part of this combo to get, so be wary about powering up 6s. This is where your opponent must be scared if you have a large hand.
32: You can put a K++ and a Q++ together, or two K++s in a combo with 4 of any card from your hand to deal 32 damage. You can also kill someone with two Q++s on two separate turns.
28: This is when throw > A+ is lethal. This is a pretty key junction, because without DSD, your throws cannot threaten to deal lethal damage until now. In addition, you need two aces for this.
22: Throw > K++ is lethal. Only requiring a single powerup for a king, this is much easier to achieve than two aces, and at least procs Bleeding Wounds if the opponent jokers your combo.
16: Q++ is lethal. At 0.0 speed, this can easily scare your opponent off of their offense.
11: A is lethal. This is a strong combat option that cannot be jokered at 11 life and is fairly safe.
8: Q is lethal and cannot be jokered. This is like A, but even faster and safer.
6: Throw and J on block are lethal. If you have a huge lead, powering up for a J to force your opponent to stop blocking can be good to scare them from getting cards for a potential comeback. Then, dodging is a good way to exhaust them of their cards, as they are often too scared to block and at worst will throw you, which for most characters does not net them any cards.

Other Tips and Tricks

K can be used as a combat card early to set up a 3-card straight that fetches you a black card or an ace.
Bonecracker can be used to set up KD situations where your opponent will have to topdeck the right card or lose to an even or odd attack, or sometimes a Q if they have fast attacks but no blocks at all. After all, the 7 throw does knock down.

If you powerup for a Q, you obviously know that you can throw to beat their dodges and blocks. However, many players will use VERY slow attacks when they think that you are tricking them so that you can throw them. Instead of trying to use Q/throw, think about using K/throw or even normal/throw as your mixup to preserve the Q and open up larger combos. Players will be scared to use fast attacks because they will still lose to your Q.

After Bonecracker, you can use your knowledge of your opponent’s hand to determine if your opponent will be forced to discard cards from hand instead of the deck when you use Into Oblivion. In general, this is something you should use Into Oblivion on if ever given the opportunity.


+: A + after any rank of card indicates pumping that card with other cards. For example, Menelker’s king is a 6+5+5 (+2 Any) card, so the notation K++ means that Menelker has played his king and discarded 2 more cards to add 5 damage each.

*: A * after any rank of card denotes an ability on that card.

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, T, J, Q, K, A: Ranks of cards, from lowest to highest. Sometimes card suit is important as well. It is notated C, D, H, S. For example, TH refers to the Ten of Hearts.

7*: See Bonecracker. Bonecracker is on Menelker’s 7 card, so this is another name for it.

7 throw: See Bonecracker.

bJ: Black jack. See Black face cards.

bK: Black king. See Black face cards.

bQ: Black queen. See Black face cards.

Black face cards: The club and spade suits of Menelker’s face cards (not including aces). These cards activate Menelker’s innate ability, Bleeding Wounds, when they hit the opponent.

Bleeding Wounds: Menelker’s innate ability that forces the opponent to discard a card and him to draw a card when he hits an opponent with Black face cards.

Bonecracker: The ability on Menelker’s 7 card that allows him to see the opponent’s hand and discard a card from it of his choice when he hits with the 7 throw.

Deathstrike Dragon: Menelker’s AAAA throw.

DSD: See Deathstrike Dragon.

Into Oblivion: Menelker’s ability on his ten card. When he discards it during the draw phase, he can banish a card from the opponent’s discard pile, and the opponent must banish a card of the same rank from his or her hand or deck. The card in the discard pile is Menelker’s choice, but the card in the hand or deck is up to the opponent.

T*: See Into Oblivion.

This guide was written by tipzntrix